The warm winds lightly caressing his face and the sounds of birds made Erik even more tired. Just as he was about to fall asleep, a heavy hand landed on his shoulder. Startled, he immediately opened his eyes and jumped up with a knife in hand and a ferocious gaze in his eyes.
"Woah there! I'm sorry I didn't mean to scare you, young man." Before him was standing a middle-aged man. He was about a head smaller than Erik, had a giant brown beard, a muscular body, and was carrying an axe on his shoulder.
"Who are you?" Seeing the man, that came out of nowhere, Erik was cautious. He was currently wounded in an unknown land, he could not trust just anyone. Especially someone that snuck upon him.
"My name is Grim Frolf. I'm a lumberjack from the nearby mountain village. I heard a loud noise, that sounded like an explosion, so I decided to check it out. Didn't expect to find someone sleeping here. I am truly sorry, haha…" The man was laughing awkwardly while scratching his beard.
Seeing this, Erik somewhat relaxed his guard. After all, he was lost and he needed to figure out where on Earth that light brought him. He put away the knife and spoke to the man, "Umh... Don't worry about it. I'm Erik by the way. I seem to be lost, could you tell me where we are?"
"Erik? That's an unusual name. Judging from your clothes you must be from really far away." The man spoke while looking up and down at Erik's body. "This is the Bloodhorn forest and at the foot of this mountain is the Bloodhorn village, where I come from."
"Bloodhorn? What kind of name is that?" Erik was extremely confused hearing what the man just said.
"Haha, you are not the first to be surprised by the name. If you come to the village you will understand." While Grim was enjoying teasing Erik he noticed the dead wolves near the river. His face immediately turned serious and he muttered to himself, "The beasts are becoming more and more daring. They actually came this close to the village. Seems like we will have problems again. Sigh." He slowly shook his head in worry and turned to Erik.
"Did you kill those?" he asked.
"I did," Erik replied. He didn't try to deny it. Hearing his confirmation, Grim nodded in approval and said, "Good work! Young man, you should probably let my wife check your wounds. She knows a bit of medicine and could probably help you alleviate some of the pain."
Erik was confused as to why Grim suddenly became gloomy, and then happy immediately afterward, but he didn't pay much attention to it and accepted his invitation. "Thank you. I will gladly accept. Also, could I borrow your phone? I need to call home, so they won't have to worry."
"Phone? What is that?" Grim had a confused expression on his face while looking at Erik.
"A smartphone… I just need it to make a call or send an e-mail. You couldn't possibly be without a smartphone in this century, right?" Erik felt like the man was making fun of him. Even if he was poor and didn't have a smartphone, he should at least have a cheap computer. After all, having access to the internet was essential in this world.
"I am sorry, but I really don't know what you mean. You can follow me to the village. Maybe our Alchemist can help you with that… phone." Grim said with an apologetic expression on his face. Then he continued, "Also, you should probably collect the crystals from the wolves. It would be a shame to just leave them there." Saying that Grim pointed to the wolf that was closest to him.
Erik revealed a confused expression on his face and turned his gaze towards where Grim was pointing. Surprisingly there was light reflecting from the wolf's forehead. Upon closer inspection, Erik actually discovered a small light brown gem embedded in the wolf's forehead. He turned back to Grim and pointed at the stone "You mean this?"
Grim nodded and said, "Yes, they are yours after all. It's no small matter to be able to kill two wolves by yourself."
"I guess you're right. Although I paid quite a price for winning this battle," said Erik, while looking at his scratched chest and wounded arm. He kept having a feeling that something was wrong since he came to this forest, however, due to the blood loss he was feeling lightheaded and so he didn't think too hard about it.
With a knife in hand, he started carving the flesh and bone around those gems and he soon managed to remove them from the wolf's skulls. They had rough edges like the gem from the book and were about the size of a thumb.
After wiping off the blood, Erik stored them in his pocket and turned around. Grim was looking at him like he wanted to say something. "What?" asked Erik.
"Oh, nothing. I was just wondering if you are going to take the pelts too?" replied Grim. From his gaze, Erik found out, that he actually wanted the pelts, he was just ashamed to ask.
Coming from a civilized world full of all kinds of amazing products, Erik felt that taking a bloody and smelly skin of an animal was kind of disgusting. Not to mention that he never skinned an animal before, but he didn't even have anywhere to store it should he decide to do so. "You can have it if you want. Consider it a small gift for your hospitality," said Erik with a smile.
"Ooh! How generous from you, young man. I will definitely repay your kindness." With an excited expression on his face, Grim took out a small knife and started skinning the wolf. From his speed and precision, it could be seen that he was quite proficient in doing this. In merely a few minutes he finished the job, he even managed to get a few good pieces from the impaled wolf. In the end, he even sliced off a chunk of meat and placed it in his pouch at the back.
"Let's go. I'll bring you to the village now. It's just a few minutes away," said Grim while looking at Erik. His happy expression really confused Erik. 'Why is he so happy for a few pieces of skin? It's not like we are in the middle ages where it would be worth something. He is probably just a crazy old, fur-loving lumberjack, right?' thought Erik to himself while looking at the back of this strange and kind man, while they were walking on the forest path.
The sun was already really low in the sky and was soon going to be hidden behind the mountains in the distance. Incoming darkness, the sounds of animals and wind blowing through the forest, gave Erik an eerie feeling like there were hundreds of eyes watching him from all sides. Having only a thin shirt, that was even torn in many places he soon started feeling chilly.
Suddenly he remembered that he still didn't know where he was and above all, he was without any money. Having no phone was basically suicide. Having no GPS, no way to contact anyone, without a way to transfer money or pay the bills for food or shelter. How was he going to book a room in a hotel for the night or even a cheap motel?
All these thoughts came flooding into his mind. For someone that lived in a big city all his life, he was weirdly unsocial, however, now he suddenly got a desire to leave this forest, to be among people with modern technology, where he could quickly get help.
Being deep in thought, he didn't even notice that the arrived out of the forest. Grim turned around with a proud smile like he just achieved something great.
"What is it?" Erik managed to say, even though his mind was in a complete mess at that moment. Grim pointed at the houses before them and said, "Welcome to the Bloodhorn village!" Then he pointed at the side and said, "And that is where our village got its name from. Haha…" He was pointing at a giant rock formation that was coming from the ground.
It was at least ten meters in diameter at the bottom and a few stories high, and above all, it was completely red in color. That sight shocked Erik so much, that he woke up from his depression. The shock he got was not because it was amazing or anything like that.
Lame. The red iron-oxide-colored rock was so lame that he couldn't believe that someone would actually feel proud having his village named after it. Then again… his planet was called Earth. With a naming sense like that you really couldn't expect too much from fellow humans.
"Ah ah. I see. Your village is named after that rock. Very clever." Erik barely managed to force himself to smile at Grim so he wouldn't offend him.
"Yes, yes!" Grim nodded with pride. "Come, Come. Let me introduce you to my wife. She will definitely be able to help you take care of those wounds."
"Mhm… That would be really nic-" Erik suddenly stopped in the middle of a sentence and stared at the village before with his eyes wide open.
Before him was a muddy road with weak-looking fences on either side. Around it were scattered shabby-looking wooden houses with animals and small children playing in the mud. Out of the chimneys raised a thick grey smoke that was being scattered by the wind.
Some adults were working around the houses or on the fields around them. They were wearing leather and cloth clothing that looked like it wasn't washed in a few months. In front of the biggest and the only stone house, was a cart full of hay pulled by two donkeys.
It was like he suddenly traveled back in the past for at least a millennium. There were no signs of any technological revolution or pollution that were omnipresent throughout the world. There weren't even any signs of a sewage system not to mention any cars or electricity.
It was...different, to say the least.
"Oh no, no, no, NO! Where the hell is this?! Where the fuck am I!?" Erik suddenly began losing his mind, as the anxiety and fear were rolling over him in this strange and unknown world.